Speaking about Allah without Knowledge
Speaking about Allah, the Most High, without knowledge, is the foremost aspect of shirk, which incurs the most severe punishment from Allah. For this reason, this is not allowed under any circumstances. This is clearly communicated by Allah in Surah A'araaf, which highlights the severity of this sin, by comparing it with other major sins. He, the Mighty said:
"Say: The things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are, Al-Fawaahish (every kind of illegal sexual intercourse) whether committed openly or secretly He, the Most High then moved on to describe a more severe sin, unjust oppression"
Then to that sin which is even more severe:
"joining partners (in worship) with Allah (shirk), for which He gave no authority"
And then He, the All-Knowing punctuated it with that sin which most severe:
"and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge. " [Al-A'araaf 7: 331
In the Tafseer of this Aayah, the scholars of Islam have said that: "If speaking about Islam (Allah, the Most High) is not the greatest crime, then Allah certainly intended to emphasize it that way. Zinaa (fornication and adultery), the first mentioned (sin in the Aayah) is an act of one committing a sin on his/her own soul. Secondly: (Allah mentions) oppression, a sin committed against others. This is definitely a greater evil. Then He, the Most High mentions shirk (i.e. joining partners in worship with Allah), obviously a greater evil than the first two, and finally, speaking without knowledge in Islam; Every sin that followed was always greater than the previous one. Thus, if it (speaking about Allah without knowledge) is not the greatest of sins, as it was mentioned last, it was certainly intended (by Allah) to be understood that way."
It should be seriously noted that this very grave sin is only because of Satan's encouragement of the ignorant and sometimes arrogant seekers of name and fame.
Allah, the Most High said:
"Verily, it is indeed Satan that makes you do evil and say things about Allah (or His deen) of which you have no proper knowledge." [Al-Baqarah 2:169]
Therefore, based upon the above aayah, we find that this is the most serious prohibition with Allah Himself. The following categories of sins are incorporated in "Speaking of Allah without knowledge":
a) Lying upon Allah, the Almighty.
b) Attributing to Allah, the Most High, what is not suitable for Him
c) Bid'ah (innovation) or modifying and altering Allah's Deen
d) Negating what He, the Most High, has affirmed
e) Affirming what He, the Most High, negated
f) Hostility to those who champion His cause
g) Supporting His enemies
h) Loving those whom He hates and hating those He loves
i) Describing Him with what does not befit Him in His Essence, His Attributes, His Statements or His Actions.
Therefore, because of the amount of sins included in this category, there can be no greater prohibition. It is from this sin that Shirk (associating partners with Allah) and all forms of Kufr (disbelief) originate. All forms of Bid'ah (innovations) are also founded upon "speaking about Allah without knowledge."
Some aspects of "Speaking about Allah without knowledge" are explained in details below:
1. Lying upon Allah and/or His Messenger (peace be upon him)
Allah informs us that it is not allowed to follow anything without knowledge, He, the Most High, said:
"And follow not, (O man i.e. do not say, act or witness) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily! The hearing, and the sight and the heart for each of those will you be questioned " [Al-Israa 17: 36]
And He, the Mighty also warns us not to speak about Him without knowledge:
"Say (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)): indeed the things that my Lord has forbidden are: (and from them is) saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge". [Al - A' araaf 7:33]
In the above aayah, Allah, the Most High, is telling us that He has forbidden Muslims to speak about Him without knowledge, and lying upon Allah, the Most High, is one way of doing this. The one who lies about Allah, the Most High, is not only guilty of speaking about Him without knowledge, but also he is amongst the most oppressive of people as Allah Himself describes:
"And who is more oppressive than he who lies against Allah, or who denies His signs ....." [Al - A' araaf 7:37]
Besides that, He, the Wise, also describes the punishment, on the Day of Judgment, for anyone who involves themselves in this dangerous practice, thus:
"And you will see on the day of judgment, those who lie upon Allah, their faces blackened." [Al- Zumr: 60]
Ibn Al-Jawzee, in his Tafseer said: "Many scholars of Islam are of the opinion, that lying upon Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) is disbelief, and that it takes one out of Islam (i.e. it makes him a disbeliever). Lying upon the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is similarly serious, since indirectly it is lying upon Allah. The Messenger (peace be upon him), emphasizing the severity of lying upon himself (peace be upon him), said: "Whoever knowingly upon me, then let him occupy his seat in the Fire". [Bukhari, Muslim & others]
Many Muslims would tell you that stealing, bribery, killing, adultery etc. are all prohibited (Haraam) acts.
However, when it come to lying upon Allah, the Most High, and/or His Messenger (peace be upon him), they are not even aware that such a sin exist, and so they would indulge in it freely without worry. This complacency among Muslims regarding this sin comes about because of the great ignorance that prevails concerning (i) The rights of Allah and His Messenger and (ii) the serious punishment that results from indulging in sin.
This complacent attitude, coupled with ignorance, have been the main factors for the majority of the deviances and differences found in Islam.
Various ways in which lying upon Allah, the Most High and His Messenger (peace be upon him) are manifested.
(a) Describing Allah without proof from the Quran or authentic sunnah.
For example, describing Allah as being everywhere is a serious misconception of which many Muslims are guilty. The Quraan and authentic sunnah are both replete with proofs which show that Allah, the Most High, is above and beyond His creation, and not a part of it, as the statement that 'He, is everywhere' necessitates. The following Hadeeth clearly indicate this. Ma'aaiyah Ibn Al- Hakim said: 'I had a servant girl who used to tend to my sheep in the area of Mount Uhud, near a place called Al-Jawwaareeyah. One day I came to see them only to find that a wolf had made off with a sheep from her flock. Since, I, like the rest of Adam's descendants, am prone to do regrettable acts, I gave her a terrible slap in her face. When I came to Allah 's Messenger (peace be upon him) with the story, he considered it a grave thing for me to have done. I said: 'O Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) couldn't I free her? He (peace be upon him) replied: "Bring her to me." So I brought her. He (peace be upon him) then asked
her, "Where is Allah?" And she replied: "Above the sky." Then He (peace be upon him) asked her: "Who am I?" She replied "You are Allah's Messenger". So he (peace be upon him) said: "Free her; for she is a believer. " [Muslim Vol. 1 Pg. 271-2 #1094]
It must be noted that one of the duties of the Messenger (peace be upon him) was to correct any mistakes anyone committed in this religion (Deen). His (peace be upon him) silence after asking her, "Where is Allah", and she replied "Above the sky", is an indication that her answer is correct. His (peace be upon him) affirming that she is a believer, at the end of the Hadeeth, is the direct proof that her answers were correct, otherwise He (peace be upon him) would be lying, and we seek refuge with Allah for even thinking that lying is possible from the Messenger (peace be upon him).
What should be noted, is the fact that the first question he (peace be upon him) asked her was: Where is Allah? and not if she believed in Him, the Most High. Since the question was: 'Where is Allah?' great importance and attention must be given to the fact that, since he (peace be upon him) accepted that Allah is above the skies as the correct answer, that this is direct proof that this is the correct view on the question.
Additionally, it establishes the importance of the issue in Islam, contrary to the belief and attitude of many Muslims, even so-called Shaiks, who claim that the issue is either trivial or too advanced. After all, this was the first question the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked of a slave girl to determine if she was a Muslim or not!
(b) Explaining the Aayaat of the Quran, or the Hadeeth of die Prophet (peace be upon him) with meanings other than their apparent ones, is also another way of lying upon Allah.
Allah, the Most High said:
"O Iblees (Satan)! What prevent you from prostrating yourself to one I have created with My Two Hands... " [Saad 38:75]
In the above Aayah, Allah, the Most High, is saying that He created Aadam with His Two Hands. Yet some Muslims try to explain "Allah's two Hands" to mean His power Who knows Allah better, Himself or these people? As Muslims, we have to believe in Allah as He describes Himself or as His Messenger (peace be upon him) described Him. Therefore, if He, the Mighty, says he has Two Hands, we must believe that. However, we must also believe, that they are not hands like our: He, the Sublime said:
"There is nothing like Him; and He is the Hearer; the Seer of all." [Shooraa 42:11]
(c) Making Haraam things Halaal
This is another form of lying upon Allah. An example of this is telling Muslims to get out of the Masjid. Since some of our brothers pray according to the way demonstrated by the Prophet (peace be upon him), (i.e. according to the sunnah), some administrators order them out of the Masjid just because of that. These arrogant leaders should remember, that amongst the greatest of oppressors, are those who prevent a Muslim from praying in the Masjid of Allah. This is because they are making Haraam the most
halaal of deeds, purely out of their unlawful dictatorship. Allah, the Glorious said:
"And who is more unjust than those who forbid that Allah's Name should be remembered in His Mosques, and strive after its destruction..." [Al-Baqarah 2: 114]
(d) Making Halaal things Haraam
This is also another way in which Muslims lie upon Allah, the Glorious. An example of this, is that Allah permits a Muslim man to marry and have up to four wives, at any given time. However, if anyone attaches conditions, and throws doubt on this, he/she is in fact making something which is Halaal, Haraam. This is done by Muslims saying that a man can only marry once, and if the circumstances of necessity presents itself, then the law of polygyny (i.e. a man marrying more than one wife) becomes applicable. Allah, the All-Knowing said:
"...then many (other) women of your choice, two or three or four, but if you shall not be able to deal justly (with them) then many only one, (or the captives) that your right hands possess... " [An-Nisaa 4:3]
In the above Aayah, Allah, the Wise has legislated that a man should marry 2, 3 or 4 wives, but if he was afraid of treating them unjustly, that is, he would not be able to upkeep a balanced scale of equal treatment, then the alternative is to marry only one. This, and only this, is the condition set down by the Shareeah. Anyone trying to say that there are other conditions, is inventing his own law. Those who propagate that the first wife must be barren or sick, or that she has to approve of the second marriage, etc., have no evidence at all to support their false claims.
Even worst, are those who have adopted the orientalists' opinion, that polygyny is a lustful act. Thus, anyone whose wife is otherwise perfect, but he still takes a second wife, is, in the orientalists' view doing this only out of evil lust and desires. This category is worst, because their statement is blasphemy against the Quraan, since Allah, the Wise, promotes and encourages therein, that a man can be married to more than one woman at any given time. It is also blasphemy to the Prophet (peace be upon him), his companions, and the scholars of Islam, as they practiced it during their lifetime.
However, even if it was done purely for lust or desire, it would still be according to the sunnah, since the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) informs us, that when someone satisfies his sexual cravings or lust in a Halaal way, he will be blessed for it. He (peace be upon him) states:
"...and even when one of you cohabits (engage in sexual intercourse), he is rewarded for it.''
We (the companions said: "O Messenger of Allah! Would one of us earn blessings and rewards for satisfying his (sexual) lusts and desires?
He (peace be upon him) said: "Yes, don't you see that if he was to satisfy it in the Haraam way (by adultery and fornication) that he would be sinned? Similarly, when he satisfies it in the Halaal way, he is rewarded."
(e) Using fabricated and unauthentic Aa-hadeeth of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is another way of lying on Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him).
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever knowingly lie upon me, then let him occupy his seat in the Fire (of Hell)". [Bukhari, Muslim & others]
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) also said: "Whoever relates a Hadeeth about me, knowingly it to be un-authentic, is himself a liar. " [Ibn Maiah]
2. Another aspect of speaking about Allah without knowledge is: Making legal decisions (giving fatwas) in Allah's religion without knowledge.
Allah, the Most High said:
"Say (O Muhammad (peace be upon him): Indeed the things that my Lord has forbidden are: (and from them is) saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge". [Al - A' araaf 7:33]
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Indeed Allah, the All-Mighty will not take away knowledge by snatching it away from the people but by taking the lives of the knowledgeable people, until when not one scholar remains. The people will then take ignorant people as their leaders, who they will ask to give judgments (in Allah's religion). This they will do without knowledge. This will result in their going astray, and leading others astray." [Bukhari and Muslim].
How many Muslims are not in this sad state today? Furthermore, how many rulings and legal decisions are given without knowledge? May Allah save us from this dangerous situation in which we find ourselves.
It is strange that when it comes to secular knowledge, we are so respectful. How many of us would dare speak of medicine in front of a doctor, or dentistry in front of a dentist? Yet we speak about Allah's laws, and make rulings in His religion ignorantly. Are we not aware that He hears us? - What! Have we no sense?
What should scare people who involve in this great sin is the following statement of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him):
"Among the people who will receive the most severe punishment on the Day of judgment is a person who killed a prophet, or who was killed by a prophet, or a person who because of his ignorance, misguides people and lead them astray..." [Ahmad and At-Tabaranee]
What is even more severe and should discourage them even more is the fact that they will carry the burden of everyone who is misguided because of them. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "...whoever introduces a bad way which others follow, he will have its burden and the burden of every one who acts upon it..." [Sahih At-tagheeb wat Tarheeb- Al Mudhiree]
3. Another aspect of speaking about Allah without knowledge is: Ruling by other than what was revealed by Allah.
"And whoever rules by other than by what Allah revealed, those are disbelievers". [Al-Maaida 5:44)
Allah, the Sublime, further states in the Quraan:
"…by your Lord (Allah), they can have no faith until they make you (Muhammad (peace be upon him) the judge in all their dispute amongst themselves, and thereafter find no resistance against your decisions, but accept with full submission." [An-Nisaa 4:65]
Allah, the Most High says:
"The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger to judge between them, is that they say "We hear and we obey" - and such ate the successful. " [An Noor 24:51]
Ruling by other than what Allah, the Almighty has revealed is indeed one of the most severe types of disbelief to which the tongue can fall prey. So, we should be very careful about this. Be aware that ruling by other than Allah's law is not only for the people who are in governmental positions, although it is easiest for them to fall prey to this, but each person is liable, based upon his responsibility, as is explained in the following hadeeth:
"Each one of you is a guardian, and each person is answerable for his flock (those under his charge); so the Imaam is guardian and he is answerable for his flock (his people), the man is guardian of his family and he is answerable for his flock (his family), and the woman is guardian in the house of her husband and she is answerable for her flock (in his house) ..., and each one of you is a guardian and ( responsible for his flock). " [Bukhari and Muslim
Since most decisions and rulings are generally communicated through speaking, then making Haraam rulings would constitute misuse of the tongue.
So know, that making Halaal what Allah has made Haraam and making Haraam what Allah has made Halaal, or accepting the ruling and following someone who is involved in it, is a type of kufr (disbelief). This is clearly understood from the following Hadeeth:
'Adi Ibn Haatim came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and heard him (peace be upon him) recite the following aayah: "They took their rabbis and monks as Lord besides Allah" So he said: "Messenger of Allah! They never used to worship them. He (peace be upon him) said: "Verily, they have made Haraam (unlawful) what was halaal (lawful), and they made halaal (lawful) what was haraam (prohibited) and (the people) followed them - so that was their (the people) worship of them (the rabbis and monks). [At-Tirmidhee]
This Hadeeth is also applicable to the so-called Islamic countries, as well as every constitution, or rules and regulations, set up by Organizations and Mastoids, etc., which legislate laws that are not in accordance with those that Allah has revealed.
4. Another aspect of speaking about Allah without knowledge is: Bida's (innovations)
Bid'ah is changing any aspect of worship in Allah's Deen by either adding to it, subtracting from it or altering it in way. It is for this reason that the noble scholars of this Deen expended so much time to warn this Ummah about the great fitnah (trial) of innovation. This is because the dangers of Bid`ah, and its destructive effects upon this Deen, are much greater than that of the other major sins, as is explained from the following Aayaat and Aa-Hadeeth of the Messenger of Allah:-
Allah, the Most High said:
"Say (O Muhammad (peace be upon him) to the people) if you love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you and He will forgive your sins". [Aali-'Imraan 3: 31]
The Messenger (peace be upon him) said: "Who ever innovates in this matter of ours (Al-Islam), that which is not from it , will have it rejected". [Bukhari & Muslim]
And He (peace be upon him) said: "…And hold fast to my sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs, and beware of newly invented matters (bid'ah); for every newly invented matter is misguidance which leads to the fire." [Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi & others]
So, based upon the above Aa-Hadeeth, Muslims must be aware of all matters that are not established from the Sharee'ah.
The following saying of the Messenger (peace be upon him) is even more frightening. He (peace be upon him) said: "Allah does not accept the repentance of anyone involved in Bid'ah, until he leaves it off completely. " [Authentic from At-Tabaraanee]
Brothers and sisters, let us not close off the doors of Repentance with our own hands, by indulging in and/or propogating Bid'ah. However, we must know that, even worse for the practitioner of Bid'ah, is what the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
"Allah refuses to accept the deeds of the practitioner of Bid'ah (innovations in the deen) until he leaves his innovation (bid'ah)." [Ibn Majah & Ibn Abi 'Aasim]
Bid'ah is one of the most dangerous sins that send whoever practices it into the fire (of Hell). Such action from a Muslim is most loved by Shaitaan. This is because the Muslim involved in Bid'ah feels that he is doing something good, but, in effect, it causes Allah's wrath to descend upon him. A few examples of Innovation (Bid'ah) of the tongue are as follows:
a) Bid'ah in Belief
The statement that Allah, the Most High, is everywhere, as was discussed before.
b) Bid'ah in Zikr
Doing zikr in congregation behind one person, which is a common practise of the Sufis. The following narration beautifully clarifies the evil of such a practise.
Amr Ibn Salmah said: We used to sit at the door of 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'oud before the morning prayer, so that when he came our, we would walk with him to the mosque. One day Abu Moosaa al-Ash'aree came to us and said: "Has Abu 'Abdur Rahmaan (Ibn Mas`oud) come out yet?" We replied: "No" So he sat down with us until he came out. When he came out we all stood along with him, so Abu Moosaa said to him: "O Aba `Abdir Rahmaan! I have just seen something in the mosque which I deemed to be evil, but all Praise is for Allah, I did not see anything except good." He (Ibn Mas'oud) inquired: "Then what is it?" (Abu Moosaa) replied: " If you live you will see it. I saw in the mosque people sitting in circles awaiting the prayer. In each circle they had pebbles in their hands and a man would say: repeat Allahu Akbar a hundred times. Then So they would repeat it a hundred. Then he would say: Say Laa illaha illallaah a hundred times. So they would say it a hundred times. Then he would say: Say Subhaanallaah a hundred
times. So they would say it a hundred times. (Ibn Mas'oud) asked: "What did you say to to them?" (Abu Moosaa) said: "I did not say anything to them. Instead I waited to hear your view or what you declared."
(Ibn Mas`oud) replied: "Would that you had ordered them to count up the evil deeds they acquired and assured them that their good deeds would not be lost!" Then we went along with him (Ibn Mas`oud) until he came to one of these circles and stood and said: "What is this that I see you doing?" They replied: "O Aba `Abdur Rahmaan! These are pebbles upon which we are counting, takbeer, tahleel and tasbeeh." He (Ibn Mas'oud) said: "Count up your evil deeds! I assure you that none of your good deeds will be lost. Woe to you, O Ummah of Muhammad (peace be upon him)! How quickly you go to destruction! These are the companions of the prophet (peace be upon him) who are widespread. These are his clothes that have not yet decayed and his bowl which is unbroken. By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! Either you are upon a religion better guided than the religion of Muhammad (peace be upon him) or you are opening the door of misguidance." They said: "O Aba `Abdir Rahmman! By Allah, we only intended good." He (Ibn Mas`oud) said: "How many are there who intend good but do not achieve it. Indeed Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said to us: "A people will recite the Quran but it will not pass beyond their throats. "Then he left them.
'Umar ibn Salamah (the sub-narrator) said: "We saw most of these people fighting against us on the day of Nahrawaan, along with the Khawaarij. [Ad-Darimee Vol. 1#79]
It should be observed from the above incident involving Ibn Mas'oud and the people who were making their congregational (Soofie like) Zikr, that they were:
(i) In the right place (i.e. the Masjid),
(ii) Saying the right and prescribed zikr -Tasbeeh, Takbeer, etc
(iii) Doing it at the right time, that is before, or according to some narrations, after the Salaah.
However, it was only one difference that caused Ibn Mas'oud to reject and rebuke what they were doing -HOW they did it, that is, in congregation. This emphasizes the importance of following the Sunnah with precision in every possible way.
The following example further highlight the importance of doing any act of worship, especially zikr or du'aa exactly and precisely as was demonstrated by the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).
Both Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated the Hadeeth that the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught Al-Baraa ibn`Aazib a du'aa to use before sleeping, part of which was: "...Aa-man- tu bi ki-taa-bi-kal la-zhee an-zalt, wa bi na-biy-yi-kal la- zhee ar-salt..". However, when Al-Baraa repeated it to the Prophet (peace be upon him) he said: ",..wa bi ra-soo-li- kal la-zhee arsalt..." The Prophet (peace be upon him) immediately corrected him saying: "No! bi na-biy-yikal la- zhee ar-salt"
This shows the importance of adhering to the sunnah, and not even changing a single word, which in essence has the same meaning as the substituted word (i.e. Nabee means prophet and Rasool means Messenger and both are titles given to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) by Allah, the Most High).
c) Bid'ah of Du'aa in congregation.
A widespread practise amongst Muslims is making Du`aa in congregation after the Fardh (compulsory) Salaah. This practice, in fact, does not have any proof from the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) or the companions who led Salaah all their lives but never once made a congregational du'aa after the Salaah.
Of the many innovations of the tongue, these few examples will suffice.
The majority of Muslims are deeply involved in many innovations. However, we must realize that Allah can only be worshipped with what He, the Most High legislated, and that it must be performed as precisely as possible as was explained or shown to us by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and as it was understood by the pious predecessors (the companions). Therefore, before doing anything in this Deen, a Muslim must esquire about the proof for that action from Quraan and authentic Sunnah, or whether it was something practiced by our pious predecessors from among the companions, the Taabi'een and the Tabi Tabi'een If there is no precedent from them, then It is compulsory for us to leave it. May Allah guide us an to practise Islam in its pristine purity. Ameen.